Skip Navigation

Company News, 2015-05-12, 03:01 PM

ThyssenKrupp calls for action to improve city sustainability

Diversified industrial group ThyssenKrupp is calling for more energy efficient design in our urban landscapes, having analysed that energy savings in our buildings need to be implemented now in order to achieve meaningful levels in 15 years. Today buildings account for 40 percent of global energy consumption.

Ahead of the EE Global Summit, the world’s premiere forum dedicated to energy efficiency taking place this week in Washington DC, Andreas Schierenbeck, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Elevator AG, said “Buildings in our cities today are being “locked in” to poor energy patterns by inefficient building services which have an average lifespan of 15 years. Facilities such as elevators, heating, ventilation and refrigeration are not running at their most efficient levels, so it is of upmost importance we address this now and upgrade facilities more resourcefully, else we run the risk of low energy performances until 2030.”

Every single commercial building that is built today locks in an average of 12,000 MWh of electricity consumption for the next 15 years. In the US alone, every year, more than 150,000 buildings are built, resulting in locked in electricity consumption of 120 TWh per year, the equivalent of the Netherlands' total annual electricity consumption. Reducing this by only 10 percent now would save the equivalent of 180 TWh over the next 15 years, equaling reduced carbon emissions of up to 180 Million tons CO2, equivalent to reducing the number of cars on the street by two million per year or three billion trees planted and grown over the same period.

Schierenbeck added: “The energy production verses consumption debate is nothing new, but rapidly increasing urbanization across the world today is accelerating the conversation and more urgently demanding the creation of a more energy efficient environment. By 2030, up to 60 percent of the global population will live in cities, and energy consumption in these urban areas will increase by around a quarter. As a result, today’s energy inefficient buildings will simply not be able to accommodate the rising energy demand, making it imperative for urban development decisions made today for future cities to be forward-thinking and focused on sustainability for generations to come.”

Accounting for the largest share of global energy usage today (40 percent), buildings are at the very heart of the energy efficiency debate. In cities, the upward trend of buildings revolves the conversation around how to make high-rise buildings run more smartly; minimizing consumption and reducing the urban energy footprint. With buildings getting taller, elevators are one of the most integral energy-using facilities in our cities and are thus a key area for address when seeking to improve urban energy efficiency.

Andreas Schierenbeck cites innovative elevator technologies such as ThyssenKrupp’s TWIN system as one of the solutions that can help. Comprising of two elevator cabins operating in the same shaft across different floors, the system can save an average of 27 percent of energy and reduce the electrical power required in a building by half when compared with other technologies. These elevators can also operate as power generators by converting the elevators’ kinetic energy into electricity and feeding it back into the power grid, reducing energy needs for the building by as much as 30 percent.

Putting advanced technology into buildings - now

Such technological solutions are required around the world, and can be adapted to suit the needs of different regions. In Europe, for example, a third of the buildings standing in 2030 will have been built before 1970, and as a result will require significant modernization to bring them in line with contemporary energy requirements and standards. Retrofitting these aged elevators with modern solutions could reduce energy consumption by up to 70 percent.

Schierenbeck concluded: “The need for sustainable urbanization is something we can no longer ignore, and with a number of clear and tangible benefits, energy-efficient elevator solutions are at the core of delivering truly sustainable cities of the future. The time to integrate these systems into buildings is now. The expertise and products already exist; the challenge is speeding up the integration process to upgrade our building stock more quickly.”

Andreas Schierenbeck is delivering a presentation at the EE Global Summit in Washington DC this Wednesday 13 May. For more information and the agenda, please visit the event website via

To the top